Telecommunications Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRC) Director General, Priyantha Kariyapperuma said that Sri Lanka is one of the first countries in the Asian region to introduce 3G, 3.5G services and High Speed Packet Access (HSPA) technology. This has enabled subscribers to have access not only to voice communications, but also to a wide range of features such as video conferencing, video streaming, mobile TV, music streaming and high speed internet.
* Sri Lanka has over 13 million mobile subscribers and nearly four million fixed line subscribers
* Enabling a digital society, the key priority of the Government
* Sri Lanka to name its first satellite Arthur C. Clarke
He was speaking at the 11th South Asian Telecommunication Regulators Council (SATRC) meeting at Cinnamon Lakeside yesterday. He said this was a testament to what the telecommunication industry in Sri Lanka has achieved so far, being on par with the rest of the world.
A study undertaken by Nokia has revealed that Sri Lanka has the lowest Total Cost Ownership (TCO) for a mobile phone, which is less than US$ 5, thus making its affordability very high. As a result we have 13 million mobile subscribers and nearly four million fixed line subscribers, he said.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa has declared 2009 as the year of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and English . The wide usage of the internet has helped in the rapid development in the field of telecommunication. Enabling a digital society is the key priority of the Government and the local telecommunication industry, Kariyapperuma said.
Sri Lanka has also taken steps to develop space technology in Sri Lanka with the assistance of the University of Surrey and Surrey Technology Ltd., UK. We are in the process of launching a satellite and President Rajapaksa has said that it should be named Arthur C. Clarke to honour him, he said.
We have a vibrant telecommunication sector with four fixed access operators, five mobile operators, six facility based data communication operators, 16 non-facilitated data communication operators and 33 external gateway operators , he said.
This year s SATRC meeting will focus on key issues relating to policy and regulatory issues, reports of the SATRC working groups under action plan phase II, implementation of the SATRC action plan phase II, New topics for consideration in the action plan next phase, adoption of the SATRC action plan phase III and funding the initiative of SATRC activities.
The Director General said an area of concern, which has become a global issue, is protecting children in cyberspace.
The internet is a growing common resource and it is our duty to ensure that children can safely access the internet and its valuable resources freely without falling prey to predators in cyberspace. We are working closely with international bodies such as ITU, CTO and APT to secure websites from hackers and protect our children from predators.
The TRC has already taken steps towards setting up a high level committee including representatives of all ISPs to meet this threat. The TRC has instructed internet service providers to block access to offensive and pornographic material over the internet, Kariyapperuma said.
The building of an information society with a human dimension calls for cooperation and partnership among all stakeholders as we all have a key responsibility to drive forward our efforts and to ensure our goal to bridge the digital divide among all, he said.